Knowledge Sharing within Organizations Defended on Friday, 17 June 2005

Knowledge sharing is of crucial importance for organizations, due to the division of labor and accompanying fragmentation, specialization and distribution of knowledge. It is a means to achieve the organizational objectives. However, organizations have experienced that people do not always share their knowledge with others. Even when people know that they have to share their knowledge and with whom, when they have appropriate cognitive and communicative skills to do so, and also have the right communication technologies at their disposal, knowledge sharing does not always happen. Whereas existing literature has identified a variety of barriers for sharing knowledge, people’s motivations for sharing knowledge within organizations are still not fully understood. These motivations can be investigated by addressing the reciprocal nature of knowledge sharing, as being a social process. This research focuses on different kinds of relations within which knowledge sharing takes place and explains how different relational models influence knowledge sharing behavior. Furthermore, it explores how the relational models underlying knowledge sharing differ within different types of organizations. Based on two qualitative case studies, this research develops a theoretical and methodological framework for describing and analyzing the situated and relational nature of knowledge sharing.


knowledge sharing, relation models theory, activity theory, case-studies, organizational setting, relational model, motivation, sociality, relation-based manifestation, infoculture

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